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BC think tank points to facilities

"If you sell a building in your district, you open up a double edged sword of a charter school moving into your community," he said. "Then you have a leech on your tax base."

Similarly, the district could stand to realize some revenue by selling the education center on Adams Place, which houses the district's administrative offices, and moving them to space in one of the schools. The district looked into that possibility in 2009 and appraised the building at $670,000, but renovating office space in the middle school, for example, would cost up to $500,000.

It would also probably necessitate moving sixth grade back to the elementary schools, which could be controversial.

The think tank came up with more than 100 ideas at its first meeting, many of which were disqualified because they offered little or no savings or were illegal.

One popular topic is always transportation, but the district has found there is little saving to be found there in part due to state regulations that require the school to have a space on the bus for every student even if they don't ever use it.

For the first time, the district in a recent go-home-early drill required all students to take the bus, Tebbano said.

"When we made everybody sit on the bus, it got extremely tight," he said.

Combining the high school and middle school routes would actually cost far more than its worth, said Transportation Department Director Al Karam, requiring the purchase of new buses and the hiring of more drivers to handle the volume.

"The two-tiered system really works best for a district where the schools are all on one campus," he said. "When you're spread out like we are here, it really is a more costly system."

The committee showed an overall aversion to privatizing the transportation department, citing safety concerns, but wondered if privatizing food service could bring some savings.

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